Type

Pros

Cons

Suppliers/Wholesale Costs

Reusable Plastic  Mesh Produce Bags

Easy transition for customers.

 

Less work for cashier, produce is visible, no weighing needed.

 

Produce can be washed in bags and moisture shaken off.

 

Very reusable thereby replacing many single-use plastic produce bags

 

Can be sold very inexpensively in store

Made of plastic and will eventually end up in environment or landfill where it will never truly biodegrade—just will become plastic dust.

 

Toxic in production and finally when it is littered on land or ocean.

 

Made from non-renewable fossil fuel resources

 

Greenhouse gas emissions in manufacture, and transport. 

washableproducebags.com

Nylon, lightweight, drawstring

10.5 x 14.5, 6 /set

$2.50/ set or .41 a bag

 

Flipandtumble.com

Polyester (10.5 x 14)

$5.50/set of 5, 6 sets at $33.

 

reavesdrop.com Nylon mesh paint strainer bags, 1000 1 gal. at .75/bag

 

tazzytotes.com, sets of 4, 3 large, one small.  Retail $6.99

Bio”plastic”

Bags or Rolls

 

Bioplastics are

made from the starch in plant sources, not from

fossil fuels and therefore are not   “plastic,” in the

usual sense.

 

 (Must say

“Compostable

and meets

ASTM D6400”

to be truly biodegradable.)

 

 

Easy transition from rolls of plastic bags. Berkeley Farmers’ Markets and Whole Foods are adopting BioBagUSA rolls.

 

Renewable resource and some are made from non-food sources such as the stalks rather than the kernels of corn.

 

Potentially compostable

 

Can be sold to customer for 10-12  cents/bag if no markup.

 

Bag “breathes” letting out moisture and thereby minimizing food decay.

 

Can be used to transport and store produce and can be reused a few times.

Life cycle analysis shows higher greenhouse gas emissions than plastic and the same as paper*

 

Some composting facilities eliminate them, confusing them with plastic bags

 

If not Industrial Composing, may take much longer to decompose.

 

Litters land and ocean.  If in Landfill, will take very long time to decompose.

 

If put in recycling, will contaminate the plastic stream making it unusable.

 

May keep customers hooked on biobags rather than truly reusable alternatives.

usabiobag.com  Mark Williams

727-789-1646, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

#202000 Produce Bag 11x17, comes in rolls with 500/roll

 

Cost becomes .08 cents/bag

if buy two palletes.

Each palette contains 192 rolls

Cost/palette =$7845 plus $245 shipping

Case has 4 rolls

Cost/case  $233.96 plus $13.95

Greenbuy.com (retail for

Smaller amounts)

 

*Many other companies offer a bioplastic bag, e.g.: trellisearth.com

Type

Pros

Cons

Suppliers/Wholesale Cost

Cotton Bags

Some are grown organically and fair trade

 

Renewable resource

 

Can be washed and reused

many times and finally become a rag.

 

If dampened, good for storing vegetables in frig and keeping them from drying out.

 

Versatile for produce and bulk grains

 

Potentially compostable.

Greenhouse gas emissions in growing, manufacturing and transporting although emissions/bag are much less than single-use bags.

 

Requires bigger transition for customers.  Bags will become dirty

and need to be washed.

 

More work for cashier—need to look in bag and weigh bags—except for mesh ones that can hold bulk beans (but not grains).

 

May end up in landfill where won’t biodegrade for a long time and then will turn to methane and CO2 (as do all organic materials).

 

Examples of organic bags, each company has many more offerings:

 

ecobags.com 1-800-720-2247

12x15 Solid cotton 250 for 1.86/bag

 

bluelotusgoods.com 831-479-7051

Mesh bag 12x15  $1.75/bag

 

Stepping Stones bags4you.com

800-926-1017

Muslin sheeting, drawstring, tare weights

8x10  200 for  1.55/bag

10x12  200 for  1.70/bag

12x15  200 for 1.85/bag

 

* Extended list available

Paper Bags

 

 

Renewable resource, can be recycled and is available as recycled

 

Can be composted and will genuinely biodegrade.

 

Less likely to be littered and to end up in ocean than plastic or bioplastic. 

 

If eaten by animals, is digestable.

 

 

 

Life Cycle Analysis* shows paper has significantly larger greenhouse gas emissions, and results in greater atmospheric acidification, water consumption and ozone production than plastic.

 

 

 

Papermart.com  many sizes, 40% recycled.

 

Also contact Good Earth Natural Foods (415) 454-0123; willing to talk about transition away from plastic and customer ed.

 

Moresco Distributing is their small recycled food bag source.

 

*Life Cycle Analysis from Master Environmental Assessment on Single-Use and Reusable Bags by IFC International, March 2010. 

(Please note that this report focuses on checkout bags and we have made the assumption that the results can be reasonably applied to small produce bags.)

 

Prepared by Green Sangha,   (510) 532-6574